A few weeks ago I wrote an article covering the things I was looking forward to on our upcoming Christmas trip to Disneyland Paris. We have been back a week, and though I miss it every day, I think it’s time to get my thoughts down on, well not paper, this website!
Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 – Decorations
BLUE! That was my first impression of the decorations as I walked under Main Street Station towards Town Square. I knew I was going to see a blue tree or two, but I saw many many blue trees, all over. There are blue decorations on the tree, and blue garlands traipsing high above Main Street. Now I realise that blue is the colour of the 25th Anniversary, as can be seen on all the celebratory decorations adorning the Station, the lampposts, the statues in Central Plaza and other places too. So with that in mind did we really need so much more blue? I think we could have stuck with green Christmas trees at least, and then the blue invasion might not have seemed so overwhelming. It still looked great, but just to much blue for me.
However, one thing I will say is that once the sun went down and dark skies enveloped Disneyland Park, the blue seemed to disappear somewhat, with shimmering white lights taking over, still with a strong tinge of blue. I was relieved to see the aforementioned garlands on Main Street, as much of the lead up to the Christmas season had people speculating that we wouldn’t have them, due to the height of the floats on Disney Stars on Parade. You can’t have Christmas in Disneyland Paris without those garlands, and 2017 was no exception to that.
Some of my favourite decorations were over in Walt Disney Studios. No, that wasn’t a mistake, as the Studios actually got some proper attention for the yuletide season this year. The lamppost Christmas Tree lights in Front Lot looked magnificent, and at night shone like festive beacons of joy. Standing in the queue to meet Santa Goofy on a cold winter’s night, they made the perfect distraction. Likewise, the lit up shooting stars over at the Partners Statue in Production Courtyard looked great. They weren’t too much so as to take away from the statue, but enough to give it a festive feel. Just could have maybe done with a small spotlight shining down onto Walt and Mickey at night, so they show up better in photos once the sun has disappeared.
Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 – Christmas Cavalcade Parade
Is it a cavalcade or is it a parade? It started life a few years ago as a cavalcade, but now gets called a parade, but it’s very much still a cavalcade for me. It’s not quite as long as a parade and the characters and performers seem to have far more freedom to interact and have fun with the guests, which is one of the huge positives of what was the highlight of the 2017 Christmas season in Disneyland Paris for me. It’s changed from last year too, with some very colourful float painting, which could be viewed as lurid and over the top, but instead falls into the vibrant and magical camp. We have a new song too, in the form of Christmas is Here written by Scott Erickson, which is a fantastic song with a great message of love and understanding, which everyone the world over could do with adhering to.
It’s that interaction that really makes it special though, and the second time watched it, on our last day, was definitely the high point of the trip for us. We had high fives with snowmen, funny face competitions with elves, lots of waves and a letter hunt with a postman. But even better than all that, was when one of the three pigs came over and high fived my son, and then went in for a big hug. All of which I managed to capture in photos. A memory that will last a lifetime.
Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 – A Merry Stitchmas
I love Stitch, so much so that he’s probably my favourite Disney animated character of all. Well, maybe tied with Sorcerer Mickey, but that’s another discussion for another time. We didn’t get to the Castle Stage early enough to get a front row spot, or even close, so instead we stood front behind the back of the VIP area, if that makes any sense? My thinking was that surely that area wouldn’t get filled up in such cold weather, and I was proven right. Hey, it happens occasionally.
Unusually for me, I’m going to mention the costumes first, which were of a level above what I’ve seen in Disneyland Paris in previous years, and in fact was the same across all the Christmas entertainment this year. Combined with the selection of Christmas songs that we all know and can sing along to and we are off to a good start. Stitch, the supposed star of the show, is actually more of a guest star, coming out in a new costume every now and then. Not that that is a bad thing itself, as an opportunity to see Hawaain Stitch and Elvis Stitch is a welcome one, I just thought he would be more of the headline star, rather than the cameo role he took. That moan aside, it’s visually and audibly vibrant, fun, energetic and very Christmassy. So with a backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and as long it’s not too cold, it’s a great addition to the Christmas season.
Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 – Mickey’s Christmas Big Band
Now going into this I was expecting the earth and more, such was the praise that had been bestowed upon Mickey’s Christmas Big Band. The best piece of entertainment ever produced by Disneyland Paris was one such accolade. I was put off before we got in to be honest, as we, along with many other guests, got our seats in Videpolis Theatre, took our coats off and got comfy. Then we were told to leave and queue up outside, in the cold. I get that they have capacity restrictions, but surely you rope it off before letting people sit down, for 10 minutes. Aside from the cold, it meant that those of us who had gotten there first were now at the back of the line and those who had just turned up were going to bag seats front row and centre. Grrr.
Back inside, coats off again and I was primed, ready and brim full of expectation. With the tone of the build-up you may be expecting me to say I didn’t like it, and you’d be wrong. I did enjoy it, but certainly not as The best piece of entertainment ever produced by Disneyland Paris (hi Tarzan Encounter), and not even as the best piece of entertainment of the season. The dancing was superb, the singing was brilliant and once again the costumes were out of this world. But much like Stitch in his show, I felt the Disney characters were the supporting act in Mickey’s Christmas Big Band. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a top quality show, it just felt like for the most part it was something I could see anywhere, albeit for the too brief times that the Disney characters took the spotlight. When they did they were so much fun, especially drummer Mickey, who tore up that kit with vigour that would make Animal proud. I only got to see it the once, so maybe in the second viewing, without the weight of expectation, my opinion would have been different, but we’ll never know, and you can blame for Rapunzel for me not getting that second viewing.
Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 – Goofy’s Incredible Christmas
We watched this on the first night, so the wait in the cold wasn’t so bad as we’d not been in the parks all day. Plus we had first day in Disneyland Paris adrenaline running through our veins – it helps! As my introduction to a projection show on Tower of Terror Goofy’s Incredible Christmas lived up to its name and then some. The quality of the projections in this show are incre amazing, and they work really well with screens. But it doesn’t end there, as there are projections on the side of a building to the right of the Hollywood Tower, and all around too – it’s a 360-degree show. Okay, so that projections and lasers opposite the Tower aren’t the most complex, and you wouldn’t focus on them for a sustained period of time, but they add another level and give you the feeling that you are in the middle of the action.
On the stage we get performers and characters with yet more fantastic costumes, a real staple of Christmas in Disneyland Paris and the 25th Anniversary in general, but getting even better with each new season. Much like A Merry Stitchmas the songs are recognisable, and singing along is practically an instinctive reaction, and a very welcome and joyous one at that. The finale adds in fireworks to some mind-blowing visuals and Christmas party music, to finish off this spectacular show in style. Until that magical Christmas Cavalcade experiences, Goofy’s Incredible Christmas was easily my favourite part of the season. Super high quality show that makes me hope they make use of the projection / Tower of Terror combination as much as they can. Of course, the next such occasion is Season of the Force.
Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 – Verdict
While there were other little bits here and there, these were the main feature of the Christmas season in Disneyland Paris, aside from the character meets, but they will be getting their own article. I’ve been a lover of Christmas all my life and a huge fan of Christmas in Disneyland Paris since they took the season to another level in 2012. The Disneyland Paris Christmas 2017 season could well be the best yet. Yes, I have a few minor complaints, but overall it’s an utterly magical time of year to visit the resort. There’s nothing anyone can do about the cold weather, but with some well-timed meals and the right clothing even I can cope, and that’s saying something. As much as we don’t have our next trip to Disneyland Paris planned, it’s going to very hard to keep away from the 2018 Christmas season if it’s anything like this one, and why would I want to? If you have never visited Disneyland Paris during the Christmas season then you owe it to yourself to do so.